Doctors overestimate benefits and underestimate harms

Doctors are not much better than their patients when it comes to estimating the benefits and harms of treatment, screening and tests, say Australian researchers.

Their systematic review of 48 studies involving 13,000 people (mostly) doctors found most participants could correctly estimate benefits for only three of 28 outcomes assessed. It was a similar story for harms, with the majority of doctors correctly estimating harm for nine of the 69 outcomes.

And just like their patients, most doctors tended to overestimate the benefits of treatments